The 10 best cover songs by nu metal bands

Various nu metal videos
(Image credit: YouTube)

Baggy jeans. Wallet chains. Spiky hair. One-hit wonders. The nu metal era is (in)famous for many things, and bizarre covers of classic hits is most certainly one of them. In fact, there was a time in the late 90s where you could barely move for nu'd-up versions of vintage hits, be it Limp Bizkit taking on George Michael, Machine Head doffing their cap to The Police or Dope honouring Dead Or Alive. Some of those worked a treat; others...well...not so much.

Still, nu metal has certainly provided some top-tier covers over the years, from turning danceable pop bangers into pure mosh fodder to jumping on a classic power ballad to take their career to greater heights than ever. With that in mind, here are the 10 finest cover songs to ever come from one of metal's most storied sub-genres.

Metal Hammer line break

Limp Bizkit - Faith (George Michael)

Love it or hate it, you just can't deny it: Limp Bizkit's take on Faith is one of the most absurd, obnoxious and enduring metal covers of all time, still regularly causing mayhem at Bizkit shows over 25 years since its release and remaining a stalwart metal club night anthem. It's not clever, but it is most definitely big, and the breakdown following that 'Get the fuck up!' still kicks harder than a mule.

Korn - Word Up! (Cameo)

Everyone from Mel B and Little Mix to Scottish hard rock favourites Gun has tackled Cameo's trademark hit over the years, but there's just something about Korn's fundamental sense of groove and propulsion that elevates their fun-as-hell cover above all others. The video, however, remains absolute dogshit. Pun very much intended. 

Deftones - No Ordinary Love (Sade)

"She’s got a beautiful voice," Deftones frontman Chino Moreno said of Sade when discussing this world class cover of her 1992 single, which appeared as a b-side on the Sacremento band's White Pony-era single Change (In the House of Flies). Featuring a guest appearance from Jonah Matranga, it's a prime example of taking a great song, funnelling it through your own style and coming up with something fresh and interesting.

Alien Ant Farm - Smooth Criminal (Michael Jackson)

Many bands from the nu metal era became household names for a second, but few did it as emphatically as Alien Ant Farm when they dropped this ridiculous yet irrepressible cover of one of Michael Jackson's most iconic songs. Accompanied by a video that was somehow even more daft than the cover itself, it was a top ten hit in 11 countries worldwide, sitting atop the Australian charts for eight weeks. Look, it was a weird time. 

Disturbed - The Sound Of Silence (Simon & Garfunkel)

The nu metal band with the monkey noises? Doing The Sound Of Silence?! It was a thought that would have had metal elitists and Simon & Garfunkel diehards alike scoffing, but Disturbed's version was so powerful that in terms of sheer reach and impact, it has since vastly eclipsed the original for an entire generation of music fans. Think that's just hyperbole? The video closing in on a billion views would suggest otherwise.

Wargasm - Lapdance (N.E.R.D.)

One of the many younger bands drawing influence from nu metal's heyday, London-based duo Wargasm are becoming one of the most talked-about acts in the modern British metal scene. It was their riotous cover of N.E.R.D.'s swaggering hip hop classic Lapdance, however, that first put them on many radars. And understandably so: it's a proper rager.

System Of A Down - Snowblind (Black Sabbath)

Originally released on the second of two Nativity In Black albums that united a host of metal heavyweights in the name of paying homage to the band that started it all, System Of A Down's typically zany version of Snowblind was a major highlight of a decidedly mixed bag. Flitting effortlessly from bouncy nu metal stomp to delicate balladry to pure heavy metal thunder, it only just edges out System's similarly ace cover of Berlin's Metro

Fear Factory - Cars (Gary Numan)

Dropping as Fear Factory were rolling into their full-on nu metal era, this was very much an 'If it ain't broke, don't fix it!' calibre of cover; the LA industrialists took the approach of not fucking too much with a perfect formula to the nth degree by actually getting Gary Numan himself in to cameo on their well-observed cover of his 1979 debut single, Cars. So basically, this is just Cars as you know it, but a little heavier. Pretty solid sell, right?

Linkin Park - Rolling In The Deep (Adele)

A one-off live cover that has gone down in Linkin Park legend, the megaweight six-piece delighted fans with a stirring, surprise rendition of Adele's monster 2010 hit at an intimate show at the Camden Roundhouse in London in 2011. It could have been a spectacular swing-and-a-miss; instead, it was a beautifully realised cover that once again underlined why Chester Bennington was one of his generation's finest vocalists.

Orgy - Blue Monday

That this is comfortably Orgy's most famous contribution to the lore of nu metal says everything about how beloved their stomping redo of Blue Order's trademark smash hit really is. Bolstered by a classically late-90s video, it landed Orgy major tours, serious radio airplay and the guarantee of filling murky goth club dancefloors forever more. Fair play, lads. 

Merlin Alderslade
Executive Editor, Louder

Merlin moved into his role as Executive Editor of Louder in early 2022, following over ten years working at Metal Hammer. While there, he served as Online Editor and Deputy Editor, before being promoted to Editor in 2016. Before joining Metal Hammer, Merlin worked as Associate Editor at Terrorizer Magazine and has previously written for the likes of Classic Rock, Rock Sound, eFestivals and others. Across his career he has interviewed legends including Ozzy Osbourne, Lemmy, Metallica, Iron Maiden (including getting a trip on Ed Force One courtesy of Bruce Dickinson), Guns N' Roses, KISS, Slipknot, System Of A Down and Meat Loaf. He has also presented and produced the Metal Hammer Podcast, presented the Metal Hammer Radio Show and is probably responsible for 90% of all nu metal-related content making it onto the site.